A CALL TO DIVE V
So, the Crowdfunding launch was last week and it appears to be grooving along quite nicely (almost 30% of goal) thanks to some pretty phenomenal generosity. A huge and grateful thanks to all who have contributed, and a most special shout out to the blessed Michael Armstrong -loving, humble and exceptionally generous soul (and global grand master of all things Northern Dancer) - who will receive a visitation from the mermaid herself for an evening of music and, of course, swimming.
But the music isn't over, and I've saved a bit of a gem for the week after the launch. 'Lighea's Idyll' is really a full on ambient work, summoning a brilliant sunlit sea, awash in the sounds of ripples and waves in a multiplicity of patterns, and the emergence - gently bobbing up from the deeps - of the mermaid as her natural self, in her oceanic element.
For those that might think of themselves as less sonically adventurous, you will likely find this pleasing. It's very tonal, and is all about being gently and somewhat deliriously lulled into a peaceful somnambulent reverie...
which is surely how the Siren's do what they do so well...
- A Call to DIVE I
- A Call to DIVE II
- A Call to DIVE III
- A Call to DIVE IV: The Crowdfunder!
'Music for DIVE' - Rough Mixes
1. Prelude & The Pearls
2. The Pastry Shop
3. Lighea's Lovers
4. Bar Hades
6. Lighea's Idyll
* A note of clarification. These pieces of music that I'm presenting are rough drafts which will go into the creating of a CD to be completed somewhere between September and December 2014. The music was written for the sonic theatre/opera work, 'DIVE'.
We left off with the disenchanted young journalist Paulo and the brilliant and reclusive elder Senator/Scholar Rosario sharing the delights of "eternal Sicily, nature's Sicily" in the seedy Bar Hades. Despite the Senator's eccentricity, and his apparent disdain for the youth's engagement in the 'slimy pleasures' of the world, their relationship grows until the Senator invites the young Paulo to visit him in his own apartment.
It is during this visit that Paulo learns the reason for the Senator's reclusiveness, his disgust with the world, and his startling genius for classical antiquity. With total candour, and utter truthfulness, Rosario describes how, as a young scholar he had retreated to a remote Sicilian cove spending his days and nights studying the classics and reciting the ancient Greek aloud
"the gentle rocking of the sea, and the names of those forgotten gods would again ripple across the waters that had once risen and crashed at their command. The sun, solitude, the simple food I ate, nights spent beneath the swirling constellations, the rhythm of the sea and of the
verses I was studying—all these wove a spell, produced in me a strange euphoria, which readied me for what was about to happen."
Rosario encounters Lighea, a mermaid curious at the strange way that he speaks her language.
"Thus began three weeks of the most perfect bliss. It would not be right, it certainly wouldn’t be fair to you or others for me to describe in detail all the pleasures we experienced. I will say only that we were beasts—and we were like gods. She could be savage but also immeasurably tender. Innocent yet adept at the most extreme pleasure."
 DIVE (The Professor and the Siren) - Richard Sanger
Click here to listen
Fides Krucker - vocal improvisation/composition
Nik Beeson - Bed Track production: Digital Array Mbira, dulcimer remix, layering, processing, fragmentation and reconfabulation, mixology & production.
Rick Sacks - Voice Recording Engineering at ArrayMusic Studio
The ambient layers of 'Lighea's Idyll' were built up by remixing fragments of a dulcimer which was recorded next to a creek, and then doing multiple improvisations using Sonic Couture's Array Mbira (I *love* this instrument). The Mbira settings were tweaked fairly dramatically, and everything was re-assembled, processed and layered up.
Fides did a series of free improvisations over this bed track, working through clear melody lines, to more ambient drones, to well pitched textures.
These too were re-assembled for the final mix.
What the track still needs
A very good mastering of course, and I may venture back into tweaking the Mbira's to make them just a shade softer.
In previous newsletters (Call to DIVE I, II & III), before jumping into Crowdfunding mode, I had defined the terms ‘fascism’ and ‘wilderness’ and it was pretty obvious that there is a tension between them. I ended the last ‘pensée’ with “Coming soon: how Mussolini treats the wild”
Mussolini’s attitude towards the wild is depicted vividly by the massive Pontine Marshes land reclamation project. Started in 1928 it was arguably Italy’s largest public works project of the 1930s. Describing the Marshes as unproductive ‘death inducing swamps’, Mussolini orated that “In the first decade of the Blackshirts’ revolution a great battle began, to redeem from water and death a great area of territory belonging to the Italian motherland”. Simply stated, where fascism met the wild, it would be war. The quest for the ideal fascist landscape (in which to rear the ideal fascist subjects) required the heroic eradication of the undisciplined, unproductive wilderness.
Mussolini depicted the wilderness as uncivilized, feminine and sterile: “a frontier that had to be conquered and colonised.” , and strove violently to force it to submit to an abstract and extreme idealisation.
It is in this context – an Italy dominated by a fascist dictator whose greatest domestic project was the violent subjugation of the wild - that Senator Rosario La Ciura, Italy’s greatest classical scholar, exposes to the young Paulo his ecstatic and unrequitted love for a creature both divine and wild.
"As I told you Corbera, she was a beast but at the same instant also an Immortal, and it is a pity that no speech can express this synthesis continually, with such utter simplicity, as she expressed it in her own body... Not for nothing is she the daughter of Calliope: ignorant of all culture, unaware of all wisdom, contemptuous of any moral inhibitions, she belonged, even so, to the fountainhead of all culture, of all wisdom, of all ethics..."
- Giuseppe de Lampedusa: 'The Professor and the Siren'
Caprotti F and Kaïka M (2008) Producing the ideal fascist landscape: nature,materiality and the cinematic representation of land reclamation in the Pontine Marshes. Social and Cultural Geography 9(6): 613 - 634
Thoughts, ideas, suggestions on the music, on the story, on spreading the word, on my sanity?
I'd love to hear from you!
"Utram bibis, aquam an undam?" - 'Which are you drinking, the water or the wave?'
-- John Fowles, The Magus